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Gob$au$ageNoblesse Oblige
Electrowerkz, London
Saturday June 23 2012


It seems only a matter of months since Noblesse Oblige last played the Electrowerkz. Well, there's no 'seems' about it. It was only a matter of months ago that the band last set foot on this very stage. But tonight's gig isn't just a repeat of the previous one. Tonight we have a wild card element. Tonight, we've got Gob$au$age.

Gob$au$age aren't really a band. They're more like a gang of hooligans on their way to gatecrash the Torture Garden. They troop on stage, mob-handed and defiantly underdressed, and proceed to harangue the bemused audience to a soudtrack of filth-encrusted electronics and skidding slabs of guitar.

The Gobs are all chains and tits, body paint a-go-go. Looming over the edge of the stage like a threat, a tetchy teddy boy lead vocalist (inasmuch as the Gobs have anything so conventional as a lead vocalist) hollers crossly at us, as if he's in a strop because he can't find any cinema seats to slash.

The Gob$au$age show is like a deleted scene from A Clockwork Orange - the one where the droogs cause a ruckus in the Vauxhall Tavern on disco night. If there are songs, they're buried under the general pandemonium, which simply continues without a break for ten minutes or so - whereupon the whole caboodle shudders to a halt like a ship running aground, and the Gobs stomp offstage wearing expressions that say 'our work here is done'.

The audience, meanwhile, is wearing expressions that say 'What the fuck was that?' Well, don't ask me. I wouldn't dare to try to explain the Gobs. But I do know they're ludicrous genius.

Noblesse Oblige are less ludicrous but equally genius, in their own way. They're a cabaret duo, a tribal campfire rhythm machine, a pop group - of sorts. Tonight we're getting a rather more minimalist version of the Noblesse Oblige show. No drums, just technology, and Valerie is dressed in post-punk black, rather than the glam-rock queen of Sheba garb we've seen at previous gigs. This is, perhaps, Noblesse Oblige allowing a little of Berlin - their home base these days - to influence their art. This is the austere, stripped-back, new wavey, urban Noblesse Oblige.

Noblesse ObligeNoblesse Oblige's Berlin urbanism fits the stark, industrial Electrowerkz rather well. Their songs - understatedly rythmic, naggingly catchy, somehow bleakly existential and warmly enveloping at the same time - rattle off the bare brick walls like the ghosts of long-gone machines.

'The Great Electrifier' is otherworldly, clacking castanets counterpointing the song's ascetic flow. But it's the rollicking, sardonic version of Minty's 'Useless Man' - rarely performed these days - that really gets the room jumping, as Sebastian's scathing vocal puts us all firmly in our place.

Noblesse Oblige, minimal post-punk style...with added vinegar. I'll have that and a bag of chips.


Noblesse Oblige: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Gob$au$age: MySpace | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.

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